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Religion

종교 탐방

II. The foundations of Buddhism

불교의 창시

 

1. THE CULTURAL CONTEXT

Buddhism came into being in northeastern India during the period from the late 6th century to the early 4th century BC, a period of great social change and intense religious activity. There is disagreement among scholars about the dates of the Buddha's birth and death. Most scholars in Europe, the United States, and India believe that the historical Buddha lived from about 563 to about 483 BC. Many others, especially in Japan, believe that he lived about 100 years later (from about 448 to 368 BC).

문화적 배경

At this time in India, many were no longer content with the external formalities of Brahmanic (Hindu high-caste) sacrifice and ritual. In northwestern India there were ascetics who tried to go beyond the Vedas (Hindu sacred scriptures). In the literature that grew out of this movement, the Upanishads, a new emphasis on renunciation and transcendental knowledge can be found. But northeastern India, which was less influenced by the Aryans who had developed the main tenets and practices of the Vedic Hindu faith, became the breeding ground of many heterodox sects. Society in this area was troubled by the breakdown of tribal unity and the expansion of several petty kingdoms. Religiously, this was a time of doubt, turmoil, and experimentation.

A proto-Samkhya sect (a Hindu school founded by Kapila) was already well-established in the area. New sects abounded, including various kinds of skeptics (e.g., Sañjaya Belatthiputta), atomists (e.g., Pakudha Kaccayana), materialists (e.g., Ajita Kesakambali), and antinomians (i.e., those against rules or laws; e.g., Purana Kassapa). Among the most important sects to arise at the time of the Buddha were the Ajivikas (Ajivakas), who emphasized the rule of fate (niyati), and the Jainas, an ascetic movement stressing the need to free the soul from matter. Though the Jainas, like the Buddhists, have often been regarded as atheists, their beliefs are actually more complicated. Unlike early Buddhists, both the Ajivikas and Jainas believed in the permanence of the elements that constitute the universe, as well as the existence of the soul. (see also Index: Jainism)

Despite the bewildering variety of religious communities, many shared the same vocabulary--nirvana (transcendent freedom), atman ("self," or "soul"), yoga ("union"), karma ("causality"), Tathagata ("Thus-Gone," or "He Who Has Thus Attained"), buddha ("enlightened one"), samsara ("eternal recurrence," "becoming"), and dhamma ("rule," or "law")--and most were based on the practice of yoga. According to tradition, the Buddha himself was a yogi--that is, a miracle-working ascetic.

Buddhism, like many of the sects that developed in northeastern India at the time, was constituted by the presence of a charismatic teacher, by the teachings this leader promulgated, and by a community of adherents that was often made up of renunciant members and lay supporters. In the case of Buddhism this pattern became the basis for the Triratna--the "Three Jewels" of Buddha (the teacher), dharma (the teaching), and sangha (the community)--in which Buddhists have traditionally taken refuge.

In the centuries following the founder's death, Buddhism developed in two directions. One, usually called Theravada by its present-day adherents, remained relatively faithful to what it considered to be the true tradition of the Buddha's teachings. The other is called Mahayana, "the means of salvation available to a larger number of people," by its followers, who call the first Hinayana, "the means of salvation restricted to a smaller number of people" (or simply the greater and lesser vehicles).

In its spread, Buddhism influenced the currents of thought and religion in other countries. In response to the diverse religious aspirations of the various Buddhist communities, the strict law of karma was modified to accommodate new emphases on the efficacy of ritual actions and various forms of devotional practice. Finally there developed in India a movement called Vajrayana, or Esoteric Buddhism, the aim of which was to obtain liberation more speedily. This movement was influenced by gnostic and magical currents pervasive at that time.

For all the discussion on the two paths of salvation--the gradual and the instant--and the various ways of interpreting the key Mahayana concepts of the "void" and the mind-element, the ethics remain fundamentally the same. The monastic organizations suffered the influence of diverse historical situations, but the basic structure remains intact. The Buddha, the original teacher, is always recognized as the revealer of Buddhist truth. In the later doctrines, his preaching is not just that given to his first disciples: he multiplies himself in numberless epiphanies--all manifestations of a single immutable reality--and he emphasizes the certainty of the void and the relativity of all appearances.

In spite of these vicissitudes, Buddhism did not negate its basic principles. Instead they were reinterpreted, rethought, and reformulated, bringing to life an immense literature. This literature includes the Pali Tipitaka ("Three Baskets"; three collections of the Buddha's teaching) and the commentaries on it; these were preserved by adherents of the Theravada tradition. It also includes many sutras and tantras that have been recognized by the followers of the Mahayana and Tantric Buddhist traditions as Buddhavacana "the word of the Buddha," along with commentaries on these texts. Consequently, from the first sermon of the Buddha at Sarnath to the most recent derivations, there is an indisputable continuity--a development or metamorphosis around a central nucleus--by virtue of which Buddhism is differentiated from other religions.

(Gi.T./ J.M.K./F.E.R.)

The Buddha and Buddhism

2. THE LIFE OF THE BUDDHA GOTAMA

The term buddha, literally meaning "awakened one" or "enlightened one," is not a proper name but rather a title, such as messiah (the Christ). Thus, the term should be accompanied by an article, such as "the Buddha" or "a buddha" (because of a belief that there will be innumerable buddhas in the future as there have been in the past). The Buddha who belongs to the present world era was born into the Gotama (in Pali), or Gautama (in Sanskrit), clan and is often referred to as Gotama. When the term the Buddha is used, it is generally assumed that it refers to Gotama the Buddha.

부처 고다마의 삶

According to virtually all Buddhist traditions, the Buddha lived many lives before his birth as Gotama; these previous lives are described in stories called Jatakas that play an important role in Buddhist art and education. Most Buddhists also affirm that the Buddha's life was continued in his teachings and his relics. The following account, however, focuses on the Buddha's "historical" life from his birth as Gotama to his death some 80 years later.

The version of the story presented here is based on the Pali Tipitaka which is recognized by scholars as the earliest extant record of the Buddha's discourses, and on the later Pali commentaries. The style and technique of these ancient texts, followed in this biography, provide a record--sometimes symbolic, sometimes legendary, and always graphic--of the life of the revered Teacher. Just as there has been a vigorous search for the "historical Jesus" by Christian and other Western-oriented scholars, so also among some Western Orientalists there has been a scholarly search for the "historical Buddha," the history of whom the Buddhists themselves never questioned and which had never interested them as a historical problem. This section concentrates on Gotama the Enlightened One as depicted in the Buddhist scriptures and legends that developed about the man, his teachings, and his activities.

1) Birth and early life.

The Buddha was born in the 6th or 5th century BC in the kingdom of the Sakyas, on the borders of present-day Nepal and India. As the son of Suddhodana, the king, and Mahamaya, the queen, the Buddha thus came from a Khattiya family (i.e., the warrior caste or ruling class). (see also Index: Shakyas)

The story of the Buddha's life, however, begins with an account of a dream that his mother Mahamaya had one night before he was born: a beautiful elephant, white as silver, entered her womb through her side. Brahmans (Vedic priests) were asked to interpret the dream, and they foretold the birth of a son who would become either a universal monarch or a buddha. Ten lunar months after the conception, the queen and her retinue left Kapilavatthu, the capital of the Sakya kingdom, on a visit to her parents in Devadaha. She passed through Lumbini, a park that was owned jointly by the people of both cities. There, she gave birth to the Buddha in a curtained enclosure in the park on the full-moon day of the month of Vesakha (May). The purported site of his birth, now called Rummindei, lies within the territory of Nepal. A pillar placed there in commemoration of the event by Ashoka, a 3rd-century-BC Buddhist emperor of India, still stands.

Immediately upon hearing of the birth of the Buddha, the sage Asita (also called Kala Devala), who was King Suddhodana's teacher and religious adviser, went to see the child. From the auspicious signs on the child's body, Asita recognized that this child would one day become a buddha, and he was overjoyed and smiled. Because he was very old, however, he grew sad and wept, knowing that he would not remain alive to see the child's subsequent Enlightenment. Suddhodana, because of this strange display of alternate emotions, was concerned about possible dangers to the child, but Asita explained why he had first smiled and then wept and reassured the king about the child's future. Both the sage and the king then worshiped the child.

On the fifth day after birth, for the name-giving ceremony, 108 Brahmans were invited, among whom eight were specialists in interpreting bodily marks. Of these eight specialists, seven predicted two possibilities: if the child remained at home, he would become a universal monarch; if he left home, he would become a buddha. But Kondaa, the youngest of the eight, predicted that he would definitely become a buddha. Later, this same Kondaa became one of the Buddha's companions and was one of his first five disciples. The child was given the name Siddhattha (Sanskrit: Siddhartha), which means "one whose aim is accomplished."

On the seventh day after his birth, his mother died, and the child was brought up by her sister Mahapajapati Gotami, Suddhodana's second consort.

A significant incident in the Buddha's boyhood is recorded in ancient Pali commentaries. One day, the little Siddhattha was taken to the state plowing festival, in which the king, with his ministers and the ordinary farmers, took part, according to the custom of the Sakyas. The boy was left with his nurses in a tent under a jambu tree. The nurses, attracted by the festivities, left the prince alone in the tent and went out to enjoy themselves. When they returned, they found the boy seated cross-legged, absorbed in a trance (Pali: jhana; Sanskrit: dhyana). The king was immediately informed and saw his little son in the posture of a yogi (a practitioner of psychological, physiological meditation techniques). Upon seeing his son sitting in this fashion, he worshiped the child a second time. Many years later the Buddha himself, in one of his discourses (the Maha-Saccaka-sutta, "The Great Discourse to Saccaka," of the Pali Majjhima Nikaya, or the "Collection of the Middle Length Sayings of the Buddha"), briefly mentions his attaining to the first jhana under the jambu tree.

The young prince was brought up in great luxury, and his father, always worried that his son might leave home to become a wandering ascetic as the Brahmans had predicted, took every care to influence him in favour of a worldly life. According to the Anguttara Nikaya("Collection of the Gradual Sayings of the Buddha"), the Buddha himself is reported to have said later about his upbringing:

Bhikkhus [monks], I was delicately nurtured, exceedingly delicately nurtured, delicately nurtured beyond measure. In my father's residence lotus-ponds were made: one of blue lotuses, one of red and another of white lotuses, just for my sake. . . . Of Kasi cloth was my turban made; of Kasi my jacket, my tunic, and my cloak . . . . I had three palaces: one for winter, one for summer and one for the rainy season. . . . in the rainy season palace, during the four months of the rains, entertained only by female musicians, I did not come down from the palace.

At the age of 16, Siddhattha married his cousin, a princess named Yasodhara, also 16 years old. Although Suddhodana tried his utmost to make Siddhattha content by providing him with luxury and comfort, the young prince's thoughts were generally elsewhere, occupied with other concerns.

2) The Four Signs.

The turning point in the prince Siddhattha's life came when he was 29 years old. One day, while out driving with his charioteer, he saw "an aged man as bent as a roof gable, decrepit, leaning on a staff, tottering as he walked, afflicted and long past his prime." The charioteer, questioned by the prince as to what had happened to the man, explained that he was old and that all men were subject to old age. The prince, greatly perturbed by this sight, went back to the palace and became absorbed in thought. Another day, again driving with his charioteer, he saw "a sick man, suffering and very ill, fallen and weltering in his own excreta." Because Siddhattha was perturbed, the charioteer explained, as before, that this was a sick man and that all men are subject to sickness. On a third occasion the prince saw a dead body and again the charioteer provided the explanation. Finally, Siddhattha saw "a shaven-headed man, a wanderer who has gone forth, wearing the yellow robe." Impressed with the man's peaceful demeanour, the prince decided to leave home and go out into the world to discover the reason for such a display of serenity in the midst of misery.

On his way back to the palace after seeing the yellow-robed ascetic, Siddhattha received the news of the birth of his son, whom he named Rahula, meaning "Fetter" or "Bond."

3) The Great Renunciation.

Upon receiving this news, the prince decided to make what is known as the Great Renunciation: to give up the princely life and become a wandering ascetic. Waking up in the middle of the night, he ordered Channa, his charioteer and companion, to saddle his favourite horse, Kanthaka, and went to the bedchamber to have a last look at his sleeping wife and their son. He did not enter the chamber for fear of awakening his wife, which would be a sure obstacle to his plan. He thought he would one day come to see them again.

That night Siddhattha left the city of Kapilavatthu, accompanied by Channa. By dawn he had crossed the Anoma River. He then gave all his ornaments to Channa, assumed the guise of an ascetic, and sent Channa and Kanthaka back to his father.

As an ascetic, Gotama went south, where centres of learning and spiritual discipline flourished, and arrived at Rajagaha (modern Rajgir), the capital of the Magadha kingdom. Bimbisara, the king of Magadha, was impressed by the handsome appearance and the serene personality of this strange ascetic and visited him when he was seated at the foot of a hill. The king, after he discovered that the ascetic was a former prince, offered him every comfort and suggested that he should stay with him to share his kingdom. Gotama, however, rejected the king's offer, saying that he had no need of those things that he had renounced and that he was in search of truth. Bimbisara then requested that, when Gotama obtained the Enlightenment, he return to visit Rajagaha again, to which Gotama agreed.

4) The search for the truth.

Leaving Rajagaha, Gotama went in search of teachers to instruct him in the way of truth. Two of them the Buddha himself mentioned by name in several discourses. He first went to Alara Kalama, a renowned sage, and expressed his wish to follow Alara's system; Alara gladly accepted Gotama as his pupil. Gotama studied and rapidly mastered Alara's whole system and then asked his teacher how far the master himself had realized that teaching. Alara told him that he had attained the "sphere of no-thing." Gotama soon attained the same mystical state himself. Alara admitted that that state was the highest he could teach and declared that Gotama and himself were now equals in every respect--in knowledge, practice, and attainment--and invited the Sakyan ascetic to guide, along with him, the community of his disciples. The Buddha later spoke of this occasion in a sutta: "In this way did Alara Kalama, my teacher, set me, his pupil, on the same level as himself and honoured me with the highest honour." Gotama, however, was not satisfied with attaining the sphere of no-thing, though it was a very high mystical state. He was in quest of absolute truth, nirvana, and thus he left Alara Kalama.

He then went to Uddaka Ramaputta, another great teacher, who taught him to attain the "sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception," a higher mystical state than the sphere of no-thing. Gotama, however, was not satisfied with this either, and he continued his search for the truth.

Traveling through the Magadha country, Gotama arrived at a village called Senanigama, near Uruvela, and, according to his own words, found "a beautiful stretch of land, a lovely woodland grove, and a clear flowing river with a pleasant ford, and a village for support close by." He was joined there by a group of five ascetics, among whom was Kondaa, the Brahman who had predicted at the name-giving ceremony that the child Siddhattha would definitely become a buddha one day.

Gotama's real struggle in his search for the truth began in the area around Uruvela, near modern Gaya. Here, for nearly six years, he practiced various severe austerities and extreme self-mortifications. These austerities were vividly described in several discourses attributed to the Buddha himself (e.g., in the Majjhima Nikaya). What he looked like and what happened to him is described in the following words from the ancient text: (see also Index: asceticism)

Because of so little nourishment, all my limbs became like some withered creepers with knotted joints; my buttocks like a buffalo's hoof; my back-bone protruding like a string of balls; my ribs like rafters of a dilapidated shed; the pupils of my eyes appeared sunk deep in their sockets as water appears shining at the bottom of a deep well; my scalp became shriveled and shrunk as a bitter gourd cut unripe becomes shriveled and shrunk by sun and wind; . . . the skin of my belly came to be cleaving to my back-bone; when I wanted to obey the calls of nature, I fell down on my face then and there; when I stroked my limbs with my hand, hairs rotted at the roots fell away from my body.

Many later representations of the Buddha portray him in this emaciated state.

As a consequence of these severe bodily austerities, Gotama became so weak that he once fainted and was believed by some to be dead. From these experiences, he realized that such mortifications could not lead him to what he sought; he therefore changed his way of life and again began to eat proper amounts of food.

His five companions, who had much faith in him, were disappointed at his rejection of extreme asceticism and left him in disgust. Gotama thus remained alone in Uruvela, regained his health and strength, and then followed his own path to Enlightenment.

5) The Great Enlightenment.

One morning, seated under a banyan tree, Gotama accepted an offering of a bowl of milk rice from Sujata, the daughter of the landowner of the village of Senanigama. This was his last meal before his Enlightenment. He spent the day in a grove of sal trees and in the evening went to the base of a pipal tree (Ficus religiosa), now known as the bodhi, or bo, tree, and sat cross-legged, determined not to rise without attaining Enlightenment.

At that point, the greatest of Gotama's struggles began: Mara, the evil one, the tempter who is the lord of the world of passion, determined to defeat him and prevent him from attaining Enlightenment; he approached Gotama with his hideous demonic hordes. Gotama, however, sat unmoved in meditation, supported only by the 10 paramitas ("great virtues") that he had perfected during innumerable past lives as a bodhisattva ("buddha-to-be") in order to attain Enlightenment. (In order to attain buddhahood, all bodhisattvas [i.e., those who aspire to become buddhas] have to perfect, during innumerable lives, these 10 paramitas: charity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, effort, patience, truth, determination, universal love, and equanimity.) Mara was thus vanquished and fled headlong with his armies of evil spirits.

The battle with Mara is graphically described in ancient Buddhist texts and depicted in paintings on the walls of Buddhist temples. In the Padhanasutta ("Discourse on the Exertion") of the Pali Suttanipata, one of the earliest texts, the Buddha states that, when he was practicing austerities by the Nerañjara River in Uruvela, Mara approached him, speaking such words as: "You are emaciated, pale, you are near death. Live, Sir, life is better. Do meritorious deeds. What is the use of striving?" After some preliminary words, Gotama replied:

Lust is your first army; the second is dislike for higher life; the third is hunger and thirst; the fourth is craving; the fifth is torpor and sloth; the sixth is fear (cowardice); the seventh is doubt; the eighth is hypocrisy and obduracy; the ninth is gains, praise, honour, false glory; the tenth is exalting self and despising others. Mara, these are your armies. No feeble man can conquer them, yet only by conquering them one wins bliss. I challenge you! Shame on my life if defeated! Better for me to die in battle than to live defeated.

Mara, overcome with grief, disappeared.

Having defeated Mara, Gotama spent the rest of the night in deep meditation under the tree. During the first part of the night he gained the knowledge of his former existences. During the second part of the night he attained the "superhuman divine eye," the power to see the passing away and rebirth of beings. In the last part of the night he directed his mind to the knowledge of the destruction of all cankers and defilements and realized the Four Noble Truths. In words attributed to the Buddha himself: "My mind was emancipated, . . . Ignorance was dispelled, science (knowledge) arose; darkness was dispelled, light arose."

Thus Gotama, at the age of 35, attained the Enlightenment, or Awakening, and became a supreme buddha during the night of the full-moon day of the month of Vesakha (May) at a place now called Bodh Gaya (Pali and Sanskrit: Buddhagaya).

6) Contemplation on the truth.

After his Enlightenment the Buddha spent several weeks (five or seven weeks according to different accounts) in Uruvela, meditating on the various aspects of the dhamma that he had realized, particularly on the most important and difficult doctrine of causal relations, known as the dependent origination or the conditioned genesis (paticca-samuppada). This doctrine views everything as relative and interdependent and teaches that there is no eternal, everlasting, unchanging, permanent, or absolute substance, such as the soul, the self, or the ego, within or without man.

Four weeks after his Enlightenment, seated under a banyan tree, the Buddha is reported to have thought to himself: "I have realized this Truth which is deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand . . . comprehensible by the wise. Men who are overpowered by passion and surrounded by a mass of darkness cannot see this Truth which is against the current, which is lofty, deep, subtle and hard to comprehend."

With these thoughts in mind, the Buddha hesitated to try to explain to the world the truth that he had just realized. At this point, according to the tradition, the Brahman Sahampati intervened in order to convince the Buddha to accept his vocation as a teacher. This great Brahmanic deity set forth for him an image of a lotus pond: in a lotus pond there are some lotuses still under water; there are others that have risen only up to the water level; and there are still others that stand above water and are untouched by it. In a similar way, in this world there are people of different levels of development. Thus challenged, the Buddha determined to proclaim the insight he had gained.

At the outset he faced the problem of choosing those who would be the first to hear him preach the dhamma. He first thought of his two former teachers, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, but they had died by this time. He then thought of the five companions who had left him and were now staying in Isipatana near Baranasi (Benares; now Varanasi) and decided to go there.

On meeting the five ascetics, the Buddha told them that now he was an arhat, a "perfected one" (Pali: arahant), a "fully awakened one" (sammasambuddha), that he had realized the "immortal" (amata), and that he wished to instruct and teach them the dhamma. They replied to him:

But, Reverend Gotama, even by all that conduct, that practice, that austerity, you did not realize this supreme knowledge, this supreme state. So how can you now realize it when you live in abundance, when you have given up striving and have reverted to a life of abundance?

The Buddha denied that he had given up striving and that he had reverted to a life of abundance. He requested again that they listen to him. Again, however, they replied in a similar manner. A third time the Buddha repeated what he had said and asked them to listen to him, and they repeated their remark.

The Buddha then asked them a question: "Do you admit that I have never spoken anything like this before?" They were struck by such straightforwardness and knew how sincere and earnest he was. Convinced that he had attained what he claimed to have attained, they no longer addressed the Buddha as "Reverend Gotama" but changed their attitude toward him and answered him: "Lord, you have not." The Buddha then delivered to them his first sermon, known as the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta ("Sermon on Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth"), at Isipatana, now called Sarnath. An ancient stupa (a building containing a religious relic) still marks the spot where this event supposedly occurred.

The substance of this sutta is as follows: a man who has left home and gone forth should not follow two extremes, namely self-indulgence and self-mortification. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata ("He Who Has Thus Attained"--i.e., the Buddha) has discovered the middle path leading to vision, to knowledge, to calmness, to awakening, to nirvana. This middle path is known as the Noble Eightfold Path consisting of right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right mode of living, right endeavour, right mindfulness, and right concentration. The First Noble Truth is that man's existence is dukkhafull of conflict, dissatisfaction, sorrow, and suffering. The Second Noble Truth is that all this is caused by man's selfish desire--i.e., craving or tanha"thirst." The Third Noble Truth is that there is emancipation, liberation, and freedom for human beings from all this, which is nirvana. The Fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path, is the way to this liberation.

7) The founding of the sangha.

At the end of the sermon, these five ascetics, the Buddha's first disciples, were admitted by him as bhikkhus (monks) and became the first members of the sangha ("community," or "order"). A few days later, this sermon was followed by the Anattalakkhana-sutta, dealing with the doctrine of no-self, at the conclusion of which all five bhikkhus became arhats ("perfected ones").

The Buddha spent about three months in the Varanasi/Benares region. During this period an important and influential wealthy young man named Yasa became his disciple and entered the order. His father and mother, along with his former wife, also were converted. They were the first lay disciples to take refuge in the "Triple Jewel": the Buddha, the dhamma, and the sangha. Later, four of Yasa's close friends followed his example and entered the order. Enthusiasm for this new movement became so impelling that 50 of their friends also joined them in the sangha. All these became arhats in due course, and the Buddha soon had 60 disciples who were perfected ones. (see also Index: Triratna)

The Buddha addressed this group in the following words and sent them out into the world to spread his message of peace, compassion, and wisdom:

Bhikkhus, I am freed from all fetters, both divine and human. You, too, are freed from all fetters, both divine and human. Wander forth, bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world. . . . Let not two of you go by one road [i.e., go in different directions]. Teach the Dhamma which is good at the beginning, good in the middle, and good at the end. . . . There are people who will understand the Dhamma. I, too, will go to Uruvela to teach the Dhamma.

The 60 disciples went in various directions to spread the teaching of the Buddha. The Buddha himself set out for Uruvela. On the way he converted 30 young men, who then entered the order. In the region of Uruvela he also converted three leading ascetics along with a large number of their disciples. To these ascetics, formerly known as "those with matted hair" (jatilas), the Buddha delivered the famous "Fire Sermon" (the Adittapariyaya-sutta), which states that all man's existence is burning with the fire of lust, the fire of hate, and the fire of delusion.

From Uruvela the Buddha went on to Rajagaha, the capital of Magadha, fulfilling his promise to visit King Bimbisara after his Enlightenment. Many people, including the king, became his lay disciples. The king offered his park, Veluvana, as a monastery site to the Buddha and his order. During this visit a very important event that had far-reaching effects took place: Sariputta and Moggallana, two Brahmanic ascetics who later became the Buddha's two chief disciples, joined the order. Sariputta had first heard of the Buddha and his new teaching from Assaji, one of the original 60 disciples. At the request of his father, the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu with a large number of his disciples. In that city, where as prince he had lived in great splendour and luxury, he went about begging for his food from house to house. His father, King Suddhodana, was grieved and upset by this, but, upon learning that this was the custom of all buddhas, he conducted the Blessed One and his disciples to eat a meal at the palace.

All the ladies of the court went to him to offer reverence, except his former wife, Yasodhara. She refused, saying that the Blessed One himself would come to her if he thought she had any virtue in her and that she would then worship him. The Buddha, with his two chief disciples and the king, went to see her in her apartment. She fell at his feet, clasped his ankles with her hands, and put her head on his feet.

The Buddha's father, his aunt Mahapajapati, Yasodhara, and large numbers of Sakyans (who were fellow members of the Gotama clan) became his followers. On the following day he ordained his half-brother Nanda and a few days later his son, Rahula. All this troubled the old king so much that he asked the Buddha to lay down a rule that no son should be ordained without the consent of his parents. Accordingly, the rule was formulated, and it continues to be followed by the sangha.

Anathapindika, a banker of Savatthi (modern Shravasti), the capital of Kosala kingdom, had met the Buddha at Rajagaha and had become deeply devoted to him. He invited the Blessed One to his city, where he built for him the famous monastery at Jetavana. This monastery in Savatthi became the virtual headquarters of the Buddha's activities. There he spent most of his time and delivered most of his sermons. The Buddha and his new teaching became so popular that monasteries were built for him and his sangha in almost all the important cities in the valley of the Ganges, and the number of his followers among all classes of people increased rapidly.

The order of nuns, bhikkhuni-sangha, was instituted after some hesitation. Ananda, the Buddha's cousin and later his chief attendant and constant companion, pleaded with the Master on behalf of women. The Buddha's own aunt Mahapajapati Gotami and her friends were the first women to enter the order.

Members of some hostile sects, who became jealous of the Buddha's success and popularity, made several attempts to vilify him.

Devadatta, one of the Buddha's cousins, an ambitious man of ability and guile, was his rival from early days. He too joined the order but was never sincerely devoted to the Master. He became popular and influential with some people, however, and, about eight years before the Buddha's death, Devadatta conceived the idea of becoming the Buddha's successor and suggested to him that the leadership of the sangha should be handed over to him in view of the Master's approaching old age. The suggestion, however, was rejected. The Buddha stated that he would not pass on the leadership of the order to anyone, not even to Sariputta or Moggallana. Rather, the sangha was to be run in accordance with democratic principles. Its constitution was to be the vinaya ("discipline"), rules that the Buddha himself had laid down to guide the spiritual and material life of the individual monks and nuns and to regulate the structure and dynamics of monastic life.

After being rebuffed in this way, Devadatta vowed vengeance. He made three cleverly designed attempts on the life of the Buddha, all of which failed. Devadatta next tried to bring about a schism in the sangha, taking with him a group of newly ordained monks to establish a separate community. All those who were misled by Devadatta, however, were later persuaded to go back to the Master by Sariputta and Moggallana. After this event Devadatta became seriously ill and died after about nine months of illness.

8) The death of the Buddha.

After the Buddha had trained learned, well-disciplined followers and his mission was fulfilled, at the age of 80, with a group of monks, he set out on his last journey, from Rajagaha toward the north. As usual, he passed in leisurely fashion through cities, towns, and villages, teaching the people on his way and stopping wherever he wished.

In due course he arrived at Vesali, the capital city of the Licchavis. The Buddha spent that rainy season not in the park in Vesali, which had just been donated to him by Ambapali, the celebrated courtesan of that city, but in an adjoining village called Beluva. There the Buddha became seriously ill. He thought, however, that it was not right for him to die without preparing his disciples, who were dear to him. Thus, with courage, determination, and will, he bore all his pains, got the better of his illness, and recovered; but his health was still poor.

After the Buddha's recovery, Ananda, his most devoted attendant, went to his beloved Master and said:

Lord, I have looked after the health of the Blessed One. I have looked after him in his illness. But at the sight of his illness, the horizon became dim to me, and my faculties were no longer clear. Yet there was one little consolation: I thought the Blessed One would not pass away until he had left instructions concerning the Order of the Sangha.

The Buddha, full of compassion and feeling, replied:

Ananda, what does the Order of the Sangha expect from me? I have taught the dhammawithout making any distinction as to exoteric and esoteric. With regard to the Truth, the Tathagata has nothing like the 'closed fist of a teacher' (acariya-mutthi), who keeps something back. Surely, Ananda, if there is anyone who thinks that he will lead the sangha and that the sangha should depend on him, let him set down his instructions. But the Tathagata has no such idea. Why should he then leave instructions concerning the sangha? I am old now, Ananda . . . eighty years old. As a worn-out cart has to be kept going by repairs, so, it seems to me, the body of the Tathagata can only be kept going by repairs. . . . Therefore, Ananda, dwell by making yourselves your island, making yourselves, not anyone else, your refuge; making the dhamma your island, the dhamma your refuge, nothing else your refuge.

Later the Buddha told Ananda that he had decided to die after three months and asked him to assemble in the hall at Mahavana all the monks who were at that time residing in the neighbourhood of Vesali. At this meeting, the Buddha advised the monks to follow what he had taught them and to spread it abroad for the good of the many, out of compassion for the world. He then announced that he had decided to die after three months.

Leaving Vesali, the Buddha gazed at the city in which he had stayed on many occasions and said: "This will be the last time, Ananda, that the Tathagata will behold Vesali. Come, Ananda, let us proceed."

Stopping at several villages and townships, the Buddha eventually arrived at Pava and stayed in the park of Cunda the goldsmith, who was already one of his devoted followers. At his invitation the Buddha and the monks went to his house for a meal. Cunda had prepared, besides various delicacies, a dish called sukara-maddava. This is interpreted in the ancient Pali commentaries in several ways: (1) as pork (this is generally accepted), (2) as bamboo sprouts trodden by pigs, (3) as a kind of mushroom growing in a spot trodden by pigs, (4) as a rice pudding rich with the essence of milk, or (5) as a special preparation (an elixir?) intended by Cunda to prolong the Buddha's life. Whatever it might have been, the Buddha asked Cunda to serve him with sukara-maddava and to serve the bhikkhus with other dishes. At the end of the meal, the Buddha requested Cunda to bury in a hole whatever was left of the sukara-maddava, saying that only a Tathagata would be able to assimilate it. This was the Buddha's last meal.

After it the Buddha became sick and suffered violent pains but bore them without complaint. He set out for Kusinara, accompanied by Ananda and other monks. Explaining that he was tired, he stopped and rested in two places. On the way, the Buddha said to Ananda:

Now it may happen, Ananda, that someone should stir up remorse in Cunda by saying that the Tathagata died after eating his meal. Any such remorse in Cunda should be dispelled. Tell him, Ananda, that you heard directly from my mouth that there are two offerings of food which are of equal fruit, of equal profit: the offering of food before the Enlightenment and the offering of food before the Parinibbana (the passing away) of a Tathagata. Tell him that he has done a good deed. In this way Ananda, you should dispel any possible remorse in Cunda.

The Buddha arrived at Kusinara (the modern Kasia, known in Sanskrit as Kushinagara) toward evening, and, on a couch between two sal trees in the park Upavattana of the Mallas, he "laid himself down on his right side, with one leg resting on the other, mindful and self-possessed." This was the full-moon day of the month of Vesakha (May).

Ananda asked the Buddha what they should do with his remains. He told Ananda they should not occupy themselves with honouring the remains of the Tathagata but should rather be zealous in their own spiritual development. The lay devotees, he said, would busy themselves with the remains.

Ananda left the immediate area and cried out: "My Master is about to pass away from me--he who is so kind to me." The Buddha inquired where Ananda was and, on being told that he was weeping, called to him and said: "No, Ananda, don't weep. Haven't I already told you that separation is inevitable from all near and dear to us? Whatever is born, produced, conditioned, contains within itself the nature of its own dissolution. It cannot be otherwise." Then, the Master spoke to the monks in praise of Ananda's wonderful qualities and abilities. The Mallas, in whose realm Kusinara was located, came with their families to pay homage to the Blessed One. A wandering ascetic named Subhadda asked for permission to see the Buddha, but Ananda refused, saying that the Blessed One was tired and that he should not be troubled. The Buddha, overhearing the conversation, called Ananda and asked him to allow Subhadda to see him. After an interview with the Buddha, Subhadda joined the order the same night, thus becoming his last direct disciple. (see also Index: death)

The Buddha then addressed Ananda:

It may be, Ananda, that to some of you the thought may come: 'Here we have the Word of the Master who is gone; our Master we have with us no more.' But, Ananda, it should not be considered in this light. What I have taught and laid down, Ananda, as Dhamma (Truth, Doctrine) and as Vinaya (Discipline), this will be your Master when I am gone. . . . If the sangha wish it, Ananda, let them, when I am gone, abolish lesser and minor precepts (rules).

The Buddha next addressed the monks and requested them three times to ask him if they had any doubt or question that they wished clarified, but they all remained silent. The Buddha then addressed the monks: "Then, bhikkhus, I address you now: transient are all conditioned things. Try to accomplish your aim with diligence." These were the last words of the Tathagata. A week later, his body was cremated by the Mallas in Kusinara.

A dispute over the relics of the Buddha arose between the Mallas and the delegates of rulers of several kingdoms, such as Magadha, Vesali, and Kapilavatthu. It was settled by a venerable old Brahman named Dona on the basis that they should not quarrel over the relics of one who preached peace. With common consent, the relics were then divided into eight portions to the satisfaction of all. Stupas were built over these relics, and feasts were held commemorating the Buddha.

9) Assessment of the personality and character of the Buddha.

According to the Buddhist tradition, the Buddha was a very handsome man. Canki, a highly respected Brahman leader, is reported to have said that "the recluse Gotama is lovely, good to look upon, charming, possessed of the greatest beauty of complexion, of a sublime colour, a perfect stature, noble of presence." Buddhists came to envision (and later represent) him as one endowed with the 32 bodily characteristics of a mahapurusa ("great person").

He had a unique reputation as a superb teacher. His conversion and taming of Angulimala, a murderer and bandit who was a terror even to Pasenadi, the king of Kosala, is put forward as an example of his great powers and abilities. People who went to see and hear him were fascinated and were so quickly converted to his new teaching that his opponents described him as having some "enticing trick." King Pasenadi is reported to have said that those who went with the idea of confounding the Buddha in debate became his disciples at the end. Full of compassion and wisdom, he is recognized as knowing how and what to teach individual people for their own benefit according to the level of their capabilities.

The Buddha, affectionate and devoted to his disciples, was always inquiring after their well-being and progress. When he was staying in a monastery, he paid daily visits to the sick ward. Once, he himself attended a sick monk neglected by others and made the comment that "he who attends on the sick attends on me."

The Buddha refused to recognize the religious significance of the caste system that was a long-established and respected institution in India and recognized the religious potential of men and women of all social ranks. He also recognized the connection between economic welfare and moral development. Trying to suppress crime through punishment, he said, was futile. Poverty, according to the Buddha, was a cause of immorality and crime; therefore, the economic condition of people should be improved.

He appreciated both natural and physical beauty. On several occasions he was moved aesthetically, as he told Ananda how delightful certain places were to him. At Vesali he told the monks that, if they had not seen the devas (gods) of Tavatimsa (Heaven), they should look at the handsome Licchavis, beautifully and elegantly dressed in different colours.

King Pasenadi could not understand how the Buddha maintained such order and discipline in the community of monks, when he, a king, with the power to inflict punishment, could not maintain it as well in his court. The Buddha, however, kept order and discipline on the basis of a mutual love, affection, and respect that exists between teacher and pupil.

Many miraculous powers were attributed to the Buddha, and he performed a number of miracles during his ministry. At the same time, however, he did not consider magical powers to be of primary importance. Once, when one of his disciples performed a miracle in public, the Buddha reproached him and laid down a rule that his disciples should not perform miracles before the laity. In his view, the greatest miracle was to explain the truth and to make people recognize its importance.

Behind his philosophy and strict ethics, the Buddha had a quiet sense of humour. A conceited Brahman, who was in the habit of denigrating others, questioned him as to the qualities of a true Brahman. In a list of such high qualities as freedom from evil and purity of heart, the Buddha gently included "not denigrating others."

The portrait of the Buddha, as can be inferred from the lines of the ancient texts, is thus one of a man of great wisdom and great compassion, one who was moved by the spectacle of human suffering and was determined to teach his fellow human beings how that suffering could be confronted and overcome. ( Wa.R./F.E.R.)

3. THE BUDDHA'S MESSAGE

The teaching attributed to the Buddha was transmitted orally by his disciples, prefaced by the phrase "evam me sutam" ("thus have I heard"); therefore, it is difficult to say whether his discourses were related as they were spoken. They usually allude, however, to the place, time, and community where he preached; and there is concordance between various versions. An attempt was made by Buddhist councils in the first centuries after the Buddha's death to establish his true and original teachings.

부처의 말씀

1) Suffering, impermanence, and no-self.

It may be said that the Buddha based his entire teaching on the fact of human suffering. Existence is painful. The conditions that make an individual are precisely those that also give rise to suffering. Individuality implies limitation; limitation gives rise to desire; and, inevitably, desire causes suffering, since what is desired is transitory, changing, and perishing. It is the impermanence of the object of craving that causes disappointment and sorrow. By following the "path" taught by the Buddha, the individual can dispel the "ignorance" that perpetuates this suffering. The Buddha's doctrine was not one of despair. Living amid the impermanence of everything and being themselves impermanent, human beings search for the way of deliverance, for that which shines beyond the transitoriness of human existence--in short, for enlightenment. (see also Index: dukkha, anicca)

According to the Buddha, reality, whether of external things or the psychophysical totality of human individuals, consists in a succession and concatenation of microseconds called dhammas (these "components" of reality are not to be confused with dhamma meaning "law" or "teaching"). The Buddha departed from the main lines of traditional Indian thought in not asserting an essential or ultimate reality in things.

Moreover, contrary to the theories of the Upanishads, the Buddha did not want to assume the existence of the soul as a metaphysical substance, but he admitted the existence of the self as the subject of action in a practical and moral sense. Life is a stream of becoming, a series of manifestations and extinctions. The concept of the individual ego is a popular delusion; the objects with which people identify themselves--fortune, social position, family, body, and even mind--are not their true selves. There is nothing permanent, and, if only the permanent deserved to be called the self, or atman, then nothing is self. There can be no individuality without a putting together of components. This is becoming different, and there can be no way of becoming different without a dissolution, a passing away.

To make clear the concept of no-self (anatman), Buddhists set forth the theory of the five aggregates or constituents (khandhas) of human existence: (1) corporeality or physical forms (rupa), (2) feelings or sensations (vedana), (3) ideations (saa), (4) mental formations or dispositions (sankhara), and (5) consciousness (viana). Human existence is only a composite of the five aggregates, none of which is the self or soul. A person is in a process of continuous change, with no fixed underlying entity. (see also Index: vijñana-skandha)

2) Karma.

The belief in rebirth, or samsara, as a potentially endless series of worldly existences in which every being is caught up was already associated with the doctrine of karma (Sanskrit: karman; literally "act," or "deed") in pre-Buddhist India, and it was generally accepted by both the Theravada and the Mahayana traditions. According to the doctrine of karma, good conduct brings a pleasant and happy result and creates a tendency toward similar good acts, while bad conduct brings an evil result and creates a tendency toward repeated evil actions. This furnishes the basic context for the moral life of the individual.

Some karmas bear fruit in the same life in which they are committed, others in the immediately succeeding one, and others in future lives that are more remote.

The acceptance by Buddhists of the belief in karma and rebirth while holding to the doctrine of no-self gave rise to a difficult problem: how can rebirth take place without a permanent subject to be reborn? Indian non-Buddhist philosophers attacked this vulnerable point in Buddhist thought, and many modern scholars have also considered it to be an insoluble question. The relation between existences in rebirth has been explained by the analogy of fire, which maintains itself unchanged in appearance and yet is different in every moment--what may be called the continuity of an ever-changing identity.

3) The Four Noble Truths.

Awareness of these fundamental realities led the Buddha to formulate the Four Noble Truths: the truth of misery, the truth that misery originates within us from the craving for pleasure and for being or nonbeing, the truth that this craving can be eliminated, and the truth that this elimination is the result of a methodical way or path that must be followed. Thus, there must be an understanding of the mechanism by which a human being's psychophysical being evolves; otherwise, human beings would remain indefinitely in samsara, in the continual flow of transitory existence.

4) The law of dependent origination.

Hence, the Buddha formulated the law of dependent origination (paticca-samuppada), whereby one condition arises out of another, which in turn arises out of prior conditions. Every mode of being presupposes another immediately preceding mode from which the subsequent mode derives, in a chain of causes. According to the classical rendering, the 12 links in the chain are ignorance (avijja), karmic predispositions (sankharas), consciousness (viana), form and body (nama-rupa), the five sense organs and the mind (salayatana), contact (phassa), feeling-response (vedana), craving (tanha), grasping for an object (upadana), action toward life (bhava), birth (jati), and old age and death (jaramarana). Thus, the misery that is bound up with all sensate existence is accounted for by a methodical chain of causation.

The law of dependent origination of the various aspects of becoming remains invariable and fundamental in all schools of Buddhism. There are, however, diverse interpretations.

5) The Eightfold Path.

Given the awareness of this law, the question arises as to how one may escape the continually renewed cycle of birth, suffering, and death. Here ethical conduct enters in. It is not enough to know that misery pervades all existence and to know the way in which life evolves; there must also be a purification that leads to the overcoming of this process. Such a liberating purification is effected by following the Noble Eightfold Path constituted by right views, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditational attainment. The term right (true or correct) is used to distinguish sharply between the precepts of the Buddha and other teachings.

6) Nirvana.

The aim of religious practice is to be rid of the delusion of ego, thus freeing oneself from the fetters of this mundane world. One who is successful in doing so is said to have overcome the round of rebirths and to have achieved enlightenment. This is the final goal--not a paradise or a heavenly world. (see also Index: Nirvana)

The living process is likened to a fire burning. Its remedy is the extinction of the fire of illusion, passions, and cravings. The Buddha, the Enlightened One, is one who is no longer kindled or enflamed. Many poetic terms are used to describe the state of the enlightened human being--the harbour of refuge, the cool cave, the place of bliss, the farther shore. The term that has become famous in the West is nirvana, translated as dying out--that is, the dying out in the heart of the fierce fires of lust, anger, and delusion. But nirvana is not extinction, and indeed the craving for annihilation or nonexistence was expressly repudiated by the Buddha. Buddhists search not for mere cessation but for salvation. Though nirvana is often presented negatively as "release from suffering," it is more accurate to describe it in a more positive fashion: as an ultimate goal to be sought and cherished.

The Buddha left indeterminate questions regarding the destiny of persons who have reached this ultimate goal. He even refused to speculate as to whether such purified saints, after death, continued to exist or ceased to exist. Such questions, he maintained, were not relevant to the practice of the path and could not in any event be answered from within the confines of ordinary human existence.

Though it is true that the Buddha avoided discussion of the ultimate condition that lay beyond the categories of the phenomenal world, he often affirmed the reality of the religious goal. For example, he is reported to have said: "There is an unborn, an unoriginated, an unmade, an uncompounded; were there not, there would be no escape from the world of the born, the originated, the made, and the compounded."

In his teaching, the Buddha strongly asserted that the ontological status and character of the unconditioned nirvana cannot be delineated in a way that does not distort or misrepresent it. But what is more important is that he asserted with even more insistence that nirvana can be experienced--and experienced in this present existence--by those who, knowing the Buddhist truth, practice the Buddhist path.

   


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